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How Should We Respond to Justin Bieber's Arrest?

  • Kelly Givens What topic related to Christianity, faith, and the Bible is trending online and in social media today?
  • Updated Jan 24, 2014

If you tuned in to any news outlet yesterday, you no doubt heard about Justin Bieber’s arrest. For those fortunate enough to miss the pop star’s antics, a quick recap: Bieber was charged early Thursday morning with drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license after street racing in Miami. After being released on a $2,500 bond, Bieber briefly sat on top of a black Cadillac Escalade, waving to screaming fans before being chauffeured away.

All in all, not the best day for the young musician.

And, while I’m one of the many who’d just like to shake my head, roll my eyes and move on, I do think it’s important to think thoughtfully about Bieber’s latest mishap. After all, this is a 19-year-old with over 40 million Twitter followers and is currently Forbes’ ninth most powerful celebrity. Whether we like it or not, his influence is huge. So how should we respond? Particularly, those with children who are Bieber’s biggest fans- how do we help them think about Bieber’s latest mistake?

Carlos Whittaker is one such parent—his children have attended the singer’s concerts, and Whittaker himself has hung out with Bieber’s mom. What is his response to Bieber’s latest antics?

“My heart literally aches for him.

So as he will most certainly be the butt of every late night show’s jokes tonight…

And he will probably make excuses and flip off the cameras…

May we instead use this time, as he is sitting in a cell all alone, with no cell phone, no one to disturb him, and ask God to speak to him in the silence.”

Jarrid Wilson offers a similarly grace-filled response to Bieber’s arrest. In an open letter to the pop-singer, he writes, “Just because you’ve made some horrible decisions, doesn’t mean you’re outside the love of God. And while many people might think your actions contradict your claim of following Jesus, let’s not forget that all of us fall short on a daily basis. We all screw up. The only difference between you and these people who are judging you, is that their mistakes aren’t publicized for the world to see. You’re definitely living a more complicated life than most, and I commend you for that. I don’t know if I could personally handle it all.”

Jon Acuff links Bieber’s recent troubles to his “overwhelming success.” Acuff believes that because success often comes as a surprise, it’s harder for successful people to stay grounded. “We are not ready for it, he writes. “We think it will be wonderful, not a challenge. And then we get it and lose everything in the midst of winning everything.”

Whatever reasons Bieber will ultimately give for his recent string of bad decisions, let’s not forget this is a kid who has publically claimed Christ and came from a Christian home. His mom, Pattie Mallette, has even written a devotional which ran on Crosswalk! In it, she writes, “I would pray often about God’s plan for Justin’s life and mine, having no idea at the time just how BIG His plans were. Truly, nothing is impossible with God. He called us to be a light in this world and has provided more than what we needed.”

What do you think? Are your children fans of Justin Bieber? If so- how do you talk to them about the mistakes he has made?